This is a difficult question for a lot of cat lovers, a lot of people who live with Maine Coon cats seem to think it is best to keep them indoors. I can see why we are very precious and beautiful and given our gentle nature I am sure our housemates are worried that someone will take a liking to us and make us move in with them instead. Of course this would be devastating for our housemate and to us and is definitely something that should be kept in mind.
There are lots of sources which state that indoor cats live a lot longer than outdoor cats due to all the dangers that are outside such as cars, trains, rat poison, foxes, disease, other cats and of course being stolen. I do know of cats who are allowed outside who live long happy lives despite all these risks and they are happy and I suppose that is an important factor in any consideration about whether to let your cat access the garden.
An indoor cat can be happy too I am sure, but I must admit I prefer to have a choice. I spent the first six months indoors and then I was neutered ( the collar was embarrassing but at least my hair grew back good as new) After my trip to the vet I was taken outside on a harness, I had spent a lot of time during the first six months looking out the window and crying at the birds. I longed to explore outside, I had lots of toys but my housemate spent a lot of time at work and I guessed there were a lot of things I could do outside once I was bored indoors.
The downside of being outside is being chased by other cats, foxes coming into the garden, the neighbours dogs who bark constantly, cars that come up the road too fast and learning that you should not go into the neighbours’ houses. They are all very friendly when they see me in the garden but seem to get very possessive when I try to walk in the door or climb in the window. People can be so territorial.
The upside of being outside is that I get to indulge my wild tendencies, I can jump, hunt, explore and play whilst feeling totally free. Of course I hunt for fun, I am quite a fan of cat food that has been put on a nice clean plate. As a cat I am naturally curious ( which is very different from being nosey) I like to know what or who is in my garden and I like to know that I can catch whatever or who ever is in my garden.
My housemate looked into getting me a cat proof fence so that I would only be able to play in our garden but after getting planning permission found that if other cats or a fox managed to get into the garden they would not be able to get back out again. I was glad that the fence did not go up because I do not wander far but I like my freedom.
We have a good compromise, I come as soon as she calls me and I have a cat flap that only I can use because my identity chip opens it and the other cats can not come in. The flap locks at night time but I am usually home by 10 pm anyway ( unless I am hunting). I use my dirt tray if I need to at night time so everyone seems happy.